The challenge of scaling leadership as an organisation grows

17 Nov 2023 12.00am

When companies are small, it’s easy. Leaders are connected to each element of the business; keeping everyone aligned and motivated. But as companies grow, great leadership becomes harder and harder to deliver.

Nov 2023
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The panel discussion focused on the importance of leadership and culture in scaling up rapid growth businesses. William Richmond-Coggan from Freeths introduced the seminar, emphasising the significance of culture in growing organizations.

The panel consisted of Sharon Parker-Lines (Deputy Managing Director, Astroscale), Patrina Carmody (Chief Change Officer, Great Place to Work), Rob Pilkington (Joint CEO, Ebbon Group), and Sharon Frost (Global HR Director, Pharmagenesis) and was moderated by Adam Pickford, co-founder of Highlight People.

Petrina Carmody, who is also a trained psychologist, discussed the importance of leadership adaptability and the human touch in driving culture and organisational success. Sharon Parker-Lines highlighted the challenge of maintaining culture during a scale-up, emphasising the role of leadership in setting the tone for the entire company as key from her experience.

Rob Pilkington shared his experience as the joint CEO of Ebbon Group, emphasising the need for leaders to let go and empower teams for successful scaling. Sharon Frost discussed the privilege of being in HR and the evolving nature of leadership, especially in the context of well-being and diversity.

Adam Pickford then delved into the panellists’ perspectives on why great leadership matters in the context of scaling. Rob Pilkington emphasised the challenges of navigating information overload and the critical role of collaboration and support in achieving organisational success.

Sharon Parker-Lines shared her experience of contrasting leadership styles during different scale-up phases, emphasising the importance of a positive work culture. Patrina Carmody discussed the hallmarks of great leadership, including adapting leadership styles to manage situations effectively.

Sharon Frost highlighted the importance of being human in leadership, acknowledging the individual lives and well-being of team members. The panellists collectively emphasised the need for leaders to be enabling, empowering, and to maintain a clear vision for the company's culture.

During the deeper exploration of scaling leadership and culture, Sharon Parker-Lines discussed the challenges of maintaining culture through different growth stages and the need for decisive and purposeful actions. Rob Pilkington shared the implementation of objectives and key results (OKRs) as a tool to drive cultural evolution and better planning in his organization.

The discussion underscored the idea that great leadership and a strong culture are essential for navigating the complexities of growth and building resilient and successful organizations. The panellists shared insights and practical experiences, highlighting the ongoing journey of leadership development and cultural enhancement in the evolving landscape of business scaling.

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Panellists include:

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Duncan May

Duncan May

Partner, Business Space Agency

A dedicated surveyor with a 20 year track record of working within the Oxford market.

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